ANN ARBOR, MI – To have a chance on Sunday, Shanshan Feng needed a Saturday move up the leaderboard.
She did exactly that.
Saturday, the Olympic bronze medalist came from three-strokes back to take a one-stroke lead into the final round at the LPGA Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club. Feng carded a bogey-free, 66 to lead at 15-under par, one-stroke ahead of Lizette Salas and two-strokes ahead of Suzann Pettersen.
“I started the round a little slowly. I was only 1-under through eight holes and then I made two putts in a row on the ninth and tenth,” Feng told the media. “After that I was just feeling like, ‘oh, I can start making birdies,’ and I was more comfortable.”
Feng trailed Salas by one when she arrive at the 18th hole, but stuck her approach close and converted the birdie to match Salas at 15-under par. Feng felt some pressure hitting wedge into her final hole of the day. She recently put new wedges in her bag and was cautious about how they would perform, but Feng didn’t have to put them to much use on Saturday, she missed just one green. Not one to follow the action on the leaderboard, it will be tough for Feng to miss playing in the final group.
“I actually tell my team, I tell them, people around me, I say ‘don't tell me where I'm at. If I want to know something, I'll ask you, but don't tell me,'” Feng said. “I'm feeling good about my condition right now and what I've done the first three days, so looking forward to the final day.”
When Salas failed to get up and down at the same par five, Feng took the outright lead. That bogey at the last will serve as motivation for Salas on Sunday, much the same way missing the cut last week at the Kingsmill Championship fired her up to make changes to her game.
“Finishing like that really just gets under my skin. I think that is going to be an extra push for tomorrow, too,” Salas said after her round. “I had a two-shot lead and now I'm one back. But that's golf. You hit great ones, you hit bad ones, and unfortunately that bad one was on my last hole today.”
Overall, Salas was happy with the changes she's made and anxious to see how it holds up under Sunday pressure.
“I hit the ball amazing today, I putted really great,” Salas said. “Everything's coming together, and I think if I just stay patient and stay still for a little extra second, things will be great for me tomorrow.”
With afternoon and evening storms forecasted for Sunday, starting times for the final round have been moved up to avoid the inclement weather. Players will go off in groups of three beginning at 7:30 a.m. off both the first and 10th tees. The final group will tee off at 9:30 a.m. off the first hole.